Fall Strategy Helps Sway Staceys’ Jewish Backers
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Fall Strategy Helps Sway Staceys’ Jewish Backers

Some like Abrams' idea of motivating liberal voters; others prefer Evans' pursuit of swing voters.

Dave Schechter

Dave Schechter is a veteran journalist whose career includes writing and producing reports from Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Lois Frank asks Stacey Evans and Stacey Abrams about their support for Israel at a Jewish Democratic forum Feb. 22.
Lois Frank asks Stacey Evans and Stacey Abrams about their support for Israel at a Jewish Democratic forum Feb. 22.

The AJT invited the Abrams and Evans campaigns to identify Jewish supporters who would speak on the candidates’ behalf.

Andrew Feiler, the president of Metro Developers and a fifth-generation Georgian who has worked on several Democratic campaigns, supports Abrams.

“I’m tired of seeing progressive candidates lose elections in Georgia, and the Evans strategy of targeting moderate Republican swing voters has been the losing strategy in Georgia for two decades,” Feiler said. “By stark contrast, the Abrams approach of intensive voter identification and voter mobilization is exactly the approach that has proven successful in Virginia, Alabama and other recent races. And Abrams is pursuing this approach with far greater sophistication and organization than any of these prior races. Stacey Abrams is one of the smartest people I know, and there is no one who knows ground game like Stacey Abrams. Hers is the only strategy with a shot at winning in November.”

Also backing Abrams is Rabbi Joshua Lesser of Congregation Bet Haverim.

“In defining ‘Jewish interest’ in a narrow sense, Abrams is a strong supporter of the Jewish community, as evidenced by her participation in Project Understanding and Project Interchange. She has been an ally to Jews and has been steadfast in her support of a two-state solution as the path to resolution of the Israel-and-Palestinian conflict, with Israel as the national homeland for the Jewish people. She is a staunch opponent of supposed ‘religious freedom’ bills while being a true supporter of religious freedom so that one faith is not valued over all other religions,” Rabbi Lesser said.

Steve Berman, the founder of OA Development and the author of a column in the Atlanta Jewish Times last year that criticized Abrams’ 2016 vote against anti-BDS legislation, said, “Stacey Evans is a rock-solid candidate with wonderful positions on maintaining the HOPE Scholarship, enhancing Medicaid accessibility in the state and creating a strong climate that will foster economic growth in the state.”

He added, “Democrats will win elections in Georgia by doing two things: pushing turnout and developing positions that walk down the middle of the road and don’t swerve off to the side to appease the fringe elements of the party. The more I looked at Stacey Evans’ positions through the lens of moderation as a means to victory, the more I became convinced she is the right candidate for the time.”

Evans also is backed by businessmen Jack Halpern, the chairman of Halpern Enterprises.

“In addition to her years of distinguished service in the state legislature, Stacey Evans has had a successful career as an attorney in the private sector, in contrast to her Democratic opponent, who used political connections to obtain a temporary public-sector job paying a lucrative salary at taxpayer expense. Mrs. Evans has been a champion of education and the HOPE Scholarship program, while her opponent’s support of this vital program has been inconsistent at best. Mrs. Evans has an unblemished record of fiscal responsibility and giving back to the community, including a scholarship that she and her husband have endowed at the University of Georgia Law School. Her opponent, on the other hand, has been operating for years under a cloud of unpaid debts and IRS tax liens and has not demonstrated the kind of discipline and responsible behavior with her personal finances that one should expect from our elected officials,” Halpern said.

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